Skip to main content

tv   Washington Journal  CSPAN  June 13, 2010 7:00am-10:00am EDT

7:00 am
federal government's ability to offer protection for private sector pension plans. "washington journal" is next. host: good morning. it in a letter released late yesterday morning, asking house and senate leaders to approve another $150 billion in spending, to be used to help state and local officials offset budget problems. without it, the preeident says that cities will see massive layoffs. your reaction to this latest wave of federal spending and its impact on the national deficit.
7:01 am
congress is back in session this week and the president makes his fourth visit to the gulf coast. this is the front page of "the washington post" -- an obama pleading for the aid package. we will get to it in a few minuues, but first to the situation on the gulf coast. here is this story of the administration giving bp a deadline. in a 20-minute telephone call with theebritish prime minister, the president said his unequivocal will view is that bp was a multinational global company and the frustrations about the oil spill had nothing to do with national identity.
7:02 am
carl writing for a pensacola newspaper joins us on the phone this morning. when the president travels to your region, this is his fourth to the gulf coast, but first time since the oil spill to florida, alabama, and mississippi. what will he see? >> lots of anxiety. many people hoping -- we have beautiful beaches here, easily among the most beautiful and well. it is pure, white sand.
7:03 am
the picture of the oil coming ashore is very ugly. you have pretty much a beach economy here that will be brought to an abrupt standstill. host: we saw some of the pictures over the weekend as the oil now in the form of large balls, once it hits the sand begins to melt on the white sand you just referred to. guest: yes, we have heard various things, including that once it hits the sand is fairly easy to clean up. the problem is that once the weather hits, it just keeps coming. once you are inside the bay have been active in oyster fishery, on the east bay on the northern part, and we have a lot of mullet shrimp in the bay, so we're very concerned if it gets inside itbay.
7:04 am
host: what will be the long-term economic impact? guest: we had just been recovering from hurricane ivan in 2004. many people were looking to the beginning of the tourist season, as the first season that would really turnout. we were having some new hotels open, and everyone seemed to be having a good spring with hotels and restaurants up, and this brings it to a halt. it is hard to overstate it. ittjust kills everything. tourists don't come to the beach to see the oil on it. you cannot swim.. the charter fishing is gone. it is really bad. host: in one of the editorials you took aim at ken salazar -- what kind of job do think has been doing? and more specifically, mms which is gone through its on transformation as a result of
7:05 am
the april 20 spill? guest: obviously, mms has done a terrible job. at this time i don't know how much we can expect the federal government to do. certainly, there is no expertise to stop this well from leaking. it will have to be bp. we would like to see -- it is hard to understand bp's response gutted by the coast guard and pushed by the federal government. it seems to be so strange, lacking. the oil is appearing close to here and we would like to see a whole fleet out there hitting the edges of it before it hits, but they keep telling us that there are skimmers out there. we do not see many. we are expecting to see an overwhelming response. we want to see bp i do like this is their own backyard and we're
7:06 am
not sure that we are seeing that. host: yet we do see a new advertising campaign wiih the ceo tony nayward saying that they will get this right, essentially. do you dobp? guest: they clearly understand it is a mess. the problem is, going back to the story last week with the peacbp's plan -- they essentialy did not even think that the oil would give to the beaches because they claimed their plan was so effective -- i have come nowhere near that. -- they have come nowhere near that. the numbers were wrong, the websites were wrong. m.m.s. was supposed to be in charge of vetting that.
7:07 am
bp clue realizes that they have messed up in every day that goes on they have done worse and worse. i don't think they're purposely trying to do a bad job, but there were not prepared. host: first of all, the president is traveling to the gulf coast tomorrow. it will be his first-ever night visit since the oil spill on april 20. then on wednesday, bp executives are summoned to the white house to meet with the president. as a result of the next three days, the think that anything will change? guest: no, because again, i just don't know -- if this were just a matter of someone and the white house saying okay, you have to do this and that will solve the problem, then yes. at this time, i assume that bp is doing everything technologically that they can. i guess they can hire more people on the beaches. there have been suggestions they put up anywhere from $1 billion up to $10 billion in escrow and
7:08 am
give it to states and let them control it. i do think that would be a good idea. if we did tell obama to do anything, it would be that. it to tell bp to turn the money over to local cities and states and let them do things. but other than that, i don't believe there are any magic bullets. host: joining us from pensacola, florida, thanks for being with us, carl. here is the website. we will have coverage as the president travels to that region of the next two days. a letter released yesterday asking members of the congress to spend another $150 billion to offset the sluggish economy. he is part of what he wrote. we have lost 84,000 jobs in state and local governments. he went on to say that if
7:09 am
additional action is not taking, hundreds of thousands of additional jobs could be lost. the letter was sent to the house and senate leadership. in "the washington post" the house last month stripped obama's request for $24 billion in state aid to extend emergency benefits for jobless workers. harry reid hopes to restore the funding, but what debate is set to resume this week, he has a knowledge that he has yet to assemble the votes for final passage. mitch mcconnell is calling the letter full of contradiction. he said "he is calling on congress to pass a jobless bill that will add about $80 billion total to the deficit, then calls for fiical discipline." we want your reaction to this. our phone numbers will be on the
7:10 am
bottom of the screen. you can also join the conversation online at twitter. fred joined us from ocean city, maryland. caller: yes, that mitch mcconnell comment just about says it all. the president has been talking out of both sides of his mouth for most of his presidency. he makes a summit the sky is falling when it is not -- makes it sound like the sky is falling when it is not. i cannot believe that people are falling for it. he cannot run this country. he is doing a terrible job. host: edward joins us from maryland. caller: good brain. i have a solution to the oil spill problem. i am a scientist.
7:11 am
what you have there is a column of oil and a pipe that goes below the ocean floor for nearly 3.4 miles. that is a considerable amount of moving mass. it is approximately one ton moving nearry 10 meters per second. that is a lot of mass like a moving locomotive. you can design a propeller- driven torpedo -- it can be designed easily. host: ok, we will focus now on the situation again on the gulf coast. concerning this letter that the president has sent asking for
7:12 am
$150 million. joining us next is paul from louisiana. caller: good morning. as far as what congress will do with the letter, i have very little faith in the leadership of congress. these people are in my opinion evil. mr. obama has some huge, huge problems. it seems like he can i get a grasp of the economy and how to fix it. he was going to focus like a laser on jobs. we're losing more and more jobs every month. the jobs gain is so minimal,
7:13 am
and they are all government jobs. his approval ratings are dipping down to the 30's now, if you believe it is even that high. but i do not think this guy has any clue. if anybody can tell me any company, any person, it anything that he led anywhere, i would love to hear. as far as what is going on in the gulf, this guy has no clue. host: this is a piece this morning -- it focuses on education. a fair amount of the money the president is asking for woull be used for teacher. according to the annual gallup poll conducted from 2004 until 2007, americans think insufficient funding is the top problem with the public schools in their communities.
7:14 am
kevin is joining us from charleston, south carolina, on the independent line. good morning? caller: good morning. i was wondering -- host: more from the letter, while robust economic growth is essential for achieviig deficit reduction, we must also take additional steps to establish a fiscally sustainable budget passed over the long term. "the new york times" has its editorial directly focusing on
7:15 am
deficit spending. susan joins us from jackson, tenn., on the democrats' line. caller: good morning. down here anddthe south the policeman, teachers and dollar getting laid off. the state's down here in the south are broke. we give tax cuts to all the rich people. the republicans have never
7:16 am
believed in public schools. when we were going up back in the mountains there were no public schools. you went to school to learn to be a lady. drugs are flowing, kids are being destroyed. they're building more and more jails. i have had my say, i guess. host: the conversation is also taking place online on the twitter page. philip is joining us from san francisco. caller: thank you all for the great job you do on c-span. lamb i think is very proud of you. as far as the letter goes, it
7:17 am
seems the same idea as priming the pump as during the roosevelt era. most important to me, if the money is released for the teachers and unemployment benefits, etc., it has a multiplier effect. each dollar spent is worth something like $1.64. if nothing else, people are desperate. i don't think it will last all that long. maybe we will need to change our host: john boehner, harry reid, and mitch mcconnell, among others are quoted in this letter. we are at a critical juncture.
7:18 am
on the twitter page, carrie asking when it will stop. gary is joining us from sterling, virginia. your reaction? caller: thank you. i believe the best way the money could be spent as if it were put into energy because having lived for the last 40 years on the lower rungs of the economic ladder, the biggest hitch by dick has been in the price of fuel. you would not believe how much 35 cents per gallon makes a difference to you when you'rr only making $4 or $5 per hour. one other thing, mr. scully, i
7:19 am
have a problem with you because the last time i heard you interviewing senator gorton from texas you let him go on and on about propagating at the risk that co2 is a harmless gas. if you have a heart attack or such, they do not give you co2. they give you oxygen. it is a simple experiment you can do to prove that co2 is harmful. a -- the corner of a slice of bread and put it into a jar and close it, and take another piece of those slots and put it into your hand and blow on it two or three times and then put it into the jar, in 1214 weeks the one that you blew on will have five different colors of fund is going on it, and the other one of bell two weeks later might
7:20 am
have a little bit of blue, grey fuzz. host: thanks for the call and the physics lesson. this is what the letter look like from the white house. it was e-mail to reporters last night. it was a three-page letter. good morning, helen. caller: i have listened to the complaints about the president and some about what he is not doing in the gulf here at alabama and the other states, and i am wondering what they expect him to do? to? snorkels on and go down and plugged the hole? things happen and we have to be3 sometimes let things run their course. host: next, a viewer from deerfield, beach, fla.
7:21 am
richard? caller: good morning. obama is calling to throw $50 billion? it seems like he is spending money without a plan. the more that heespins, the mark hurts our economy because we're going further into debt. one other thing, hh wants to close down all these oilwells out in the gulf. that will affect 40,000 jobs. by closing these wells down, the added pressure they're putting on the valves, pipes -- all this equipment when they shut down, it has the potential to create
7:22 am
more of a hazard. host: on the front page this morning, "the usa wins 1-1." the relationship with our great britain is the subject. obama had a conversation with the new prime minister, david cameron. president obama's says that we like the u.k., but do not like bp. the president is asking the congress to vote on monday before july 4. he says the deficit will take care of itself, but we need the multiplier effect spawned by sitting upon the -- that is a message from twitter concerning the president's request for money from congress. caller: i am from connecticut, so-called, one of the richest states in the country. there have been so many
7:23 am
teachers in schools closed -- i don't understand why these people don't understand what the president is doing. as teachers are laid off the students are crowded with up to 40 students in a class. is this how we won the country to go? education is very important for the future. i don't know what people say they don't know what the president is doing. he is trying to help states continue to educate children. host: from "the tallahassee democrat" a preview of the president's trip tomorrow. he will meet with local lawmakers. "of houston chronicle" -- more headlines about the oil
7:24 am
spill. this message from twitter. we're joined from cincinnati on the democrats' line. caller: i just got out of the hospital with us light heart problem and i have a pretty good insurance. i am retired. in hamilton county we have a wonderful county hospital, but what really surprised me was the number of people of all races and colors desperately needing medical help. i think what president obama is asking is quite reasonable from what i have seen and what i just left yesterday. there are certain things in society we cannot cut off, that are not subject to the deficit knife. no matter how hawkish one might
7:25 am
want to be. one more thing about the moratorium -- when i heard that the gas pipe had exploded a day or two ago in proximity to the rig, frrnkly, in my working life i would have done anything needed to take care of myself and my family also, but i would also have expected my employer -- horizon or whoever they were, i would expect them to provide a place safe for me to work. i think the president and i agree 100% to least find out what is going on with these companies. why these things are happening? if this one gas pipe blew, what is to say that others will not do the same thing? host: yesterday, to congressional leaders asking congress to move ahead on an
7:26 am
additional $50 billion that could be as high as $80 billion when you include the tax credits. a cool reception from members of the senate republican leadership including center mitch mcconnell. he says it is another $50 billion for him to pay back union state voters -- this message from twitter. our guest on "newsmakers" -- as those begin work on the financial regulatory reform bill, here is his take on were legislation stands now. >> in 2008 when i voted for the first tarp bill, and i voted against the other ones, people in my district were saying 99-1, i'm opposed to this.
7:27 am
i voted for it because i felt like it was necessary, but it was a near-death experience. i can tell you that it is a gift that keeps on giving. you know, i just about past my primary, with 76% of the vote. i think senator shelby who did not vote for and said it was a terrible mistake, ran side-by- side, and we ran with him four percentage points. i had a candidate who spend money and ran ads, and he did not. i think the american people said maybe it was necessary that time, but never again. and that is what i think. host: senator bachus is our guest on "newsmakers." this is from the front page and a jump page of "the washington
7:28 am
post" as obama makes his case for the aid package. it is what we are focusing on this morning. again, this" ww read earlier from the republican side, john stewart who sent an e-mail, the spokesperson for senator mitch mcconnell, saying the president called for targeted and temporary spending measures, but then called for a stimulus program. joe joins us on the republican line from boston. caller: you can google what i'm
7:29 am
about to say to verify it.3 the article it is part o-- a cen amount of money for black farmers. also, there was money for historically black colleges and a prior bill. that is $3.70 billion of obama bucks we just do not have. host: doug says that america needs a conservative congress that will say no to the nutty professor and the white house. consolidating her power, a look at nancy pelosi.
7:30 am
this book is by two authors, one of which is ron peters. the conclusion concerning nancy pelosi's gender -- their conclusion is that she is different from her predecessors and her path to power. she has amassed in used power for political and policy in some ways that clearly parallel those used by the most powerful speakers before her. next is steve from boston. caller: good morning. i want to remind people that these are real families they are talking about who are
7:31 am
unemployed. these are mothers and children who will not have an income if they take away the unemployment. peopll lose sight of that. if our -- our financial situation would be better if they're not 18,000 financial companies in the cayman islands that were getting away tax-free. exxon paid not one red cent in federal taxes last year. to make it worse, not that they did not pay, but they also got $156 million tax free, the largest company in the world! and that is only one out of 18,000 companies. there is plenty of money and out there, but we're not going after the corporations and making them pay their fair share. we're so concerned about the making their profits for their shareholders that we're forgetting about the people in the country, 300 million who are paying the price.
7:32 am
this idea that we cannot afford it -- we can afford it if we go and get the money from the people who haven't. host: thank you. are you listening on xm? caller: no, on sirius. host: the cover story of "the new york times" -- the sunday magazine, the democrat and chief? it is not that clear that obama cares that much about leading his party, but the real wild card in the midterm elections is president obama. by twitter, "i don't care what anyone says about nancy pelosi, she gets the job done."
7:33 am
inside "national journal" a look gun program of the republicans, taking aim at some of the most honorable house democrats including the 11th district of pennsylvania, a new york, new mexico, north dakota, and another in colorado -- as seen on this is graphic. deb third is joining us from philadelphia. $50 billion the president says that we need to create jobs to help communities throughout the country -- your reaction? caller: i'm a little surprised about all the complaining about the money being spent.
7:34 am
no one seems to except the fact that what happened during the bush years cannot be fixed overnight. they did not give money to anyone but the rich. the republicans are crying about don't see one complaint about- money being spent. john boehner wants us to pay for bp. everything is supposed to go to the wealthy. the people working to hold up the wealthy -- they want us to forget about them. we're going to be a third world country in a matter of years if we don't get it together. we need to stand behind the president and the democrats who are trying to bring this country out of the ditch that bush got this in. host: thank you, kevin, from south carolina. caller: i would like to remind people that thee$50 billion aid
7:35 am
package is completely ridiculous, in my opinion. we have no money. all we're doing is borrowing money from china. it takes about a sixth grader to know that when tax revenues are not going up and spending is skyrocketing a ridiculous level , it will not work. host: norman solomon will join us in about 15 minutes. kathleen wright says, can we declare bankruptcy? we get 60% of the revenues from oil leases. james, from detroit, good morning. caller: the president is trying everything he can to clean this mess up. the banks are not lending.
7:36 am
-- they're not lending money to banks. even when we bail out these companies they're not hiring people because in the stock market news that they say the banks are afraid, or the corporations are afraid, or the businesses are afraid to invest in new inventory, or to hire new people. that is not the president's fault. the president is doing everything he can to stimulate the economy it is the corporations. people need to understand that if you want to talk about patriotism, we need to go after the corporations and ask them -- where is your patriotism, corporate america? you have takkn all the money from the bush years, you have plenty of capital. why aren't you taking that and investing back in our country, our people, who have supported you all of these years?
7:37 am
host: thanks for the call. here it is a story inside the paper, all but one state and local government -- most local governments are required by law to balance their annual budgets. they continue to struggle. the debt clock is keeping track of for all the spending is going. this is what it looks like. we went from $12.90 trillion
7:38 am
into an excess of $13 joining for the overall debt. joining us on the phone from baton rouge. caller: i hear all these democrats yelling about the corporation's. where do you think you get all your cars, everything you are using? just stop and think. if you stop buying what they're making, you would not be doing anything, not driving your car. you are always hollering about the oil companies. well, stop buying gas. don't use any more oil. then you will be satisfied. [laughter] but that is not what i really called about. those people that's running the
7:39 am
oil spill deal do not have a clue of what they're doing, not one clue. host: we are asking you to respond to the president's letter and will show you excerpts, asking house and senate leaders to move on the bill before the july 4 recess. this is your says the gop wanted general motors liquidated in december 2008. we are joined again from san francisco. caller: i have been listening to people say that we do not want to spend more money becauseewe are in debt. i have also heard that back in the depression one mistake made was that there was not stimulus added to the economy.
7:40 am
i'm under the impression if the government does not put money into the economy, things will get orse, and go down hill. it is necessary to spend the money even if we are in debt at this time to prevent the economy from going further in the wrong direction. host: thank you, and that is the editorial this morning in "the new york times." america needs to know that the president coldness that can seem like detachment, is engaged. we cringed when he told "the today show" that he spent imported time figuring now whose ass to kick about the spill. the president needs to use his
7:41 am
power to keep his administration and congressional democrats focused on what the economy needs, jobs and stimulus. next is weighing from upstate new york, good morning. caller: good morning. ultimately believe it would be in the best interest of the country that congress approve the $50 billion. i also believe the federal government cannot spend their way out of the mess we are in, but need to show themselves as trying to do the right things to me the president in the middle of the road, and get the ball rolling. government cannot spend its way out of these problems. i would not trade places with the president for all the tea in china.
7:42 am
host: the president urging quick reaction on his proposal to expand tax breaks for small businesses and to create a $30 billion lending facility because many banks remain reluctant to lend to small businesses. the conversation is also going on line on twitter. vincent joins uu from for washington, maryland. caller: good morning, and thank you for c-span. i support the president and what he is doong. most people who got money do not want to see him make get. if the poor man rises, then what do they get? they don't like for their taxes to get larger and hours to get
7:43 am
smaller. if we're healthy, it means we can work and have money in our pockets to take care of the kids. weecan make schools better. kids can learn more and everyone rises. i understand why they would have a problem with that when it is getting their pockets full when the kids to learn. c'mon, it is just greed. host: ok, if the obama theory is spending more will solve the debt, then should we all just go on a spending spree? north carolina, good morning. caller: i support the president. i think that the republicans need to think about this one -- if consumers do not buy these corporations' products, then where would the corporationn be? i did not hear them complaining about taxpayer dollars paying
7:44 am
for the iraq war so that the bush family could have their own little oil field in iraq. if the cut all the spending, then there will not be any revenues coming in for taxes, so i say vote rich and live poor. host: john boehner has more on the oil spill in another piece of legislation being debated, all the questionable how far will go in the house and senate. the oil spill may spur action on energy, probably not on climate. images of the gushing oil and dine pelicans and the gulf of mexico have stirred anger and aaony in washington, but are they enough to prod the senate to act on the long-delayed clean energy and climate change legislation?
7:45 am
in the words of senator lindsey graham who worked closely with senator kerrey on the initial climate change energy legislation, he said republicans to work on the bill for months, there is "no where near the 60 votes to save the polar bear to get from the new orleans newspaper, what about the local seafood? the headline, as the local seafood supplies dwindle, restaurants are forced to get credit. the coast guard is telling bp, a little too slow.
7:46 am
bp officials are expected to come back with alternatives today. the president will meet with executives on wednesday. if you go to a certain website, uppight citizens brigade -- this is their take on the situation of the oil spill. calm down. >> it will destroy all the fish. >> look at that. >> it is encouraging on my map
7:47 am
. of map >> laptop. >> wait, i have a brilliant -pidea. >> ok, you have to hurry up. i think the public is getting suspicious. >> didn't workk >> oh my god, we are really screwed now. >> now there's coffee and garbage. >> wait, i have an idea. >> damn, i really thought that would work. >> well, maybe it does not work
7:48 am
right away. >> if you want more, you can log on to the website -- that is about one minute, 10 seconds -- that nearly three-minute spoof of on abp and its response. you can log on to watch the entire program. coming up in a few minutes, norman solomon will be joining us, and later, more on the sentence but 12-2 by the u.n. security council concerning iran. it is sunday, june 13, and we will be back in a moment.%-
7:49 am
>> with the confirmation hearing for elena kagan with this month, today c-span tissue inside to see the public places and rarely seen spouses. here insight about the court and the building. the home to america's highest court, today at 6:30 p.m. eastern. >> the democrats have run the congress for 40 years. there was a certain level of corruption that had taken hold. we are rallying against that. it is so ironic that years later i would be a face of a similar type of corruption to a whole different group of people. >> director alex gibney talks
7:50 am
about corruption on capitol hill in his new documentary. tonight on. on >> should the federal communications commission regulate the internet? two views with caty sloan and walter mccormick, head of u.s. telecom. that is on monday, on c-span2. host: welcome back, this is norman solomon, a national board member of the progressive democrats of america. guest: it is a pleasure host: how is the president doing? guest: i'm afraid he is undermining the two goals that are overarching for millions of americans who call themselves progressives. probably tens of millions very
7:51 am
consciously are disappointed. the first goal is to maximize chances of keeppng republicans out of the speaker's office and majority senate office, and out of the oval office after 2012. the other goal is to move policy in a progressive direction. unfortunately, on both counts administration has undermined those two goals. i'm with a group that this coming wednesday will hold will recall brown bag vigils at more than 100 congressional offices around the country. we realize that whether you talk about war, jobs, the informant, civil liberties, we have a huge problem with ttis administration. host: a couple of things that have happened in the past week. let me get your reaction.
7:52 am
big labor arkansas bust. today, in politics as in sports, success is measured by wins and losses. moral victories are usually claimed by those on the wrong end of the score. $10 million spent in the arkansas senate runoff. blanche lincoln received 52% of the vote and won. guest: yys, the white house official said it was a pointless expenditure by organized labor. i wonder what we would say about $1 billion in afghanistan, more than pointless and terribly destructive. it seemed to be a message from the white house to organized labor, just let us run the show from pennsylvania avenue. after 16 months, the results are clear. it was supposed to be a priority
7:53 am
of this and ministers in. i commend a group called bold progressives, and other such groups -- those that worked very hard to put up a fight against a blue dog corporate democrat named blanche lincoln in arkansas. the advice coming from the white house for progressives including organized labor to just say ok, tell us what to do, that does not comport with history if you look back fdr from the 1930's, john kennedy and others from the 1960's. all the great moveeents came as a result of the base mobilizing. to the extent, the press has made a mistake of deferring to the white house for the last 16 months. we have de-mobilized and de-
7:54 am
energized our own progressive base. host: here is a summary -- is not clear that obama cares so deeply about leading his party. guest: it is a fair question. in 1994 the republicans took over the congress with the democrats and the white house whh had shafted human rights, organized labor, environmentalists to push through nafta. by any other name it appears the obama administration with the and was different from so many progressive groups and individuals in the last year or more has basically engaged in a triangulation. to continue to placate the
7:55 am
republican right wing which cannot be placated, and will never offer anything but opposition and hatred, to try to placate them is a huge mistake. we will not win many of these closely contested the elections in november as democrats unless we can mobilize the base. we cannot mobilize with a bunch of rhetoric or belated $50 billion. another thing, jobs are crucial. the republicans claim that hey will create jobs by funneling tax breaks to business puts to shame which should be a legacy of the new deal. jobs programs that create jobs. host: with a $13 trillion
7:56 am
looming deficit, how you spend additional money? guest: with fiscal austerity we could start with blowing these hundreds of billions in afghanistan. this war is catastrophic. one year ago many progressives were saying in private but they're beginning to say more openly. this war is death, not only for so many americans as reported on the front page today, but of course afghans. the fiscal implications are huge. we need the money at home for job creation, education, housing, green jobs. host: this weekend the white house says to expect an increase in casualties' in afghanistan. they write the military's intelligence network in afghanistan is designed for
7:57 am
tracking terrorists and insurgents and it is increasingly focused on uncovering corruption that is rampant across afghanistan's government. further into the story, they're looking into how to conduct aa widespread perversion of authority by afghan power brokers or senior officials. it is a plague on the american- backed effort to win support of the afghan people. guest: that story was response to administration makes and is laughable. i was in the capital of afghanistan last summer and the corruption of those karzai government is clearly extreme. we hear in the paper today about how the u.s. military will now carry out corruption -- it is not a mystery. go to the brother of the
7:58 am
presiient of the country, to kandahhr and you find karzai --a massive drug dealer, grabs massive amounts of land -- to call a corruption is an understatement. that is the u.s. proxy government in afghanistan. the policy will not work by any measure. unfortunately, one of the defining characteristics of the obama administration has been that the president maps out as he did in his west point speech about afghanistan last december a very clear, shrewd analysis of history. then he proceeds to announce a policy which is often nearly a 180-degree departure. many people looked at his
7:59 am
language and say this is a smart guy making a ot of sense, then at the policy and it is very different. i have gotten to know the pentagon papers whistleblower and he talks about afghanistan in similar terms to the vieenam war. some very smart people in the pdministration can do very stupid things. that is a good summary of this escalation of the afghanistan war. host: why do you think the policies have continued? some say they're similar to the bush policies. is it because of robert gates has stayed on in his role? guest: the president hooses all these people. it is not hyperbolic to say some policies have been pursued by this administration. the executive director of the aclu said a few days ago that
8:00 am
the obama administration policies, in terms of civil liberties "disgusted him." i think that tells us how far removed from the hopes of turning around this country from the bush administration things have gotten. host: yet this comment by twitter says that progressives have to grin and bear it. guest: well, two bowls -- we as progressives, and there are so many of us around the country, can do the equivalent of walk and chew gum at the same ime. ." ."
8:01 am
these are battles that have to be fought around the country, including in the primaries. nesting -- nasty comments are going to come from the white house, including a few days ago, saying that this $10 million in arkansas was flushed down the toilet. i think that we will push back, for a reason. we will do what robert kennedy and eugene mccarthy did. we will speak out. host: another comment from
8:02 am
twitter, "the elephant in the room is the military-industrial complex." andy, the morning. caller: thank you for taking my call. i had one question and i will wait for the answer. in connecticut we fund local schools with property taxes. if someone in new jersey does not want to use theirs, why is it my responsibility to pay more federal taxes so that they can pay less? guest: thank you for your call. whether it is highways, public transportation, clean air, we i think that that is what fdr was talking about in terms of the century of the common man. we are in this together. elevating our site and quality
8:03 am
of life for all americans. every child has the right to a quality education in the right to make that decision. basing the decision on where they are born, i think that would be a mistake. the reality is that there is a huge elephant in the room. we have huge spending now. adding an all-out, we are edging up around $1 trillion each year on military spending. we are way above $2 billion every day spent on the military. by some accounts, bp is the biggest supplier, at least one of the biggest suppliers, of oil and gasoline to the u.s. military. these issues tend to weave together.
8:04 am
the priorities that we have, about in terms of guided missiles and misguided men, we have the technology to wage war. the access to give money to some and not others depending on where their children are born, but ultimately a more egalitarian society will be a stronger society. host: how many books have you authored or coauthored? guest: 24. host: i am one of your most mainstream media.attacked the%- what is your criticism? guest: too much stenography, not enough scrutiny. the government should have a regulatory function that is vigorous. we need watchdogs in the press in terms of the most powerful in washington and corporate
8:05 am
circles. instead we have too much difference. sometimes putting a short leash on what we need from journalism. the body politic needs a wide range of ideas and debate and get blockage. i would argue that we get blockage in terms of bailout for wall street when we are desperate for jobs. the war in afghanistan and this horrific continuing oil catastrophe in the gulf of mexico that is both a corporate destructive criminal activity against nature and the planet in a profound regulatory failure coming out of washington.
8:06 am
the press needs to be vigorous in scrutinizing, not just after the fact, but ongoing. host: the press reports that there are upwards of 94,000 troops in afghanistan. the number is dropping in iraq. next i will go to steve in florida. good morning. caller: i agree with you in terms of the war and everything in afghanistan and that i am surprised more people are not screaming about why we are over there and spending all that money. does that have something to do with war -- with oil? is there a pipeline coming through the north into afghanistan and pakistan? i never heard about it in the news. i am wondering, is that the truth? is that true?
8:07 am
guest: wars happen for a lot of reason. in 1980 there was a great deal of interest from the u.s. in terms of securing u.s. oil interests pipelines from the central asian republics to a water port in pakistan. a factor that i would not put too fine a point on. right now this is a war that keeps going and is much more difficult to stop a war and start one. wwen you think about the amount of money being spent on all of these military contractors, let me just remind you that we are now organizing around the country to block this supplemental being moved through the house. you might remember last year we were told that it was the last supplemental.
8:08 am
that war spending would be on the books. now that has apparently been forgotten or we are encouraged to forget it. those in the house that say that they are now enthusiastic about because we will be watching how they vote on this measure. host: you have some fans and critics on our twitter page. "can you run for president? so many solutiins, save us." guest: no one is going to save us. i think that obama himself is someone that we need to look at realistically. he is a person. as cornell westtsaid, he is a corporate politician. we have our own responsibility as citizens and people that can affect the future. as critical as i am of their politicking in many areas, i am
8:09 am
more so, on the people who have quieted their voices, but they know better. we need to demand the political atmosphere where we can force the white house to move. host: "still glad that obama is president? agree or not? think we should give him the time line in the way he proposed? guest: is a high jump over low standards to say i am glad. certainly i am glad that he is not bush or mccain. but this could go on for a very long time, like in the vietnam war. we are going over a cliff with a bigger chance to compound moral felony. host: when the president went to
8:10 am
afghanistan you compared it to the lyndon johnson visit to south vieenam. guest: it was chilling to read an article about that day regarding lyndon johnson and howl of be the soldiers were to hear the president's energy. he said something like we're going to nail the cap to the wall. there was his own rhetoric, putting on his jacket and so forth. but it does not do us any good because the reality is that this war is still going on. it is clear in "the new york times." yes, they are different countries, but the psychological mechanisms and the process along pennsylvania avenue and in washington to try to justify what cannot be justified, the failure of leadership to justify constitutional responsibillty to use the power of the first to respond to
8:11 am
public opinion, we have a poll from days ago, 53% of this country saying that this war is not worth that, and yet the war goes on and continues to escalate. host: the other story on the front page of "the new york times" comes from march and is about southern afghanistan and saving injured troops. let me bring it back to your column. you seem to indicate that president obama could, in your words, becoming president that would have the war that consumed johnson, nixonn and bush. guest: we are on the way. in combination with the jobless rate and reliance on the republican mechanism the economy and the war, which are related. this quandary of this money,
8:12 am
many people have been brought into the military because they cannot find jobs as young people. we are in that situation. the nile does not help us at all. leadership should not come from congress right now. it has to come from the base. we have to organize and raise hell to stop this war. host: "one of the few general progressives, meaning he is a communist hiding behind a fake name." guest: of course in the 1960's, and i did visit as a teenager to speak against the war, senators ostracized as prophetic. host: democratic line, rita, good morning. caller: thank you. mr. solomon, i am a good example
8:13 am
of someone who is a working- class democrats and not a liberal democrat. you are feeding into the terrible bashing that president obama is getting as a communist. you are absolutely losing all independent moderates for the democratic party. you are an example of making the perfect the enemy of the good. visa support the president. i wanted to vote for hillary, how about that. but i do not think that you have to -- the alternative, are you kidding me? you have to be a realist to be the president. you are also one of these people that remind me of the people
8:14 am
being out of office. guest: i do know if you got my point. president obama with his policies is enabling and empowering right-wing populism because the white house has aligned itself so closely with wall street. when democrats but people like timothy geithner in top positions they become accessories to wall street, and labeling and strengthening the right-wing populist for electoral gains, i would say that the situation is the one lady from what you describe. these moderate policies from the administration are strengthening and not weakening the white -- right-wing backlash. when we get on the correct side of this divide it is going to be progress of populism the
8:15 am
challenges a weak economic force and is in close, clear solidarity with people. host: do you listen to blend back at all? guest: not if i can help it, i will read the transcripts. host: "putting americans -- he is telling radio listeners that progressives are preparing to put americans into concentration camps." guest: unfortunately this kind of rhetoric continues today. i was on his program once. i understand i am not to be invited back again. host: why? guest: he invited me on the television show to attack general electric, buu i also challenge the owners of his show and i do not think he was happy with the segment. crazy things are being said by
8:16 am
glenn beck's and rush limbaugh's, but that does not mean that the enemy of our enemy is not a matter of the perfect being the enemy of the good. it is a question of whether the policies right now are ones that will move this country in a progressive direction. the regulatory failure in the gulf of mexico, the military ppending that is out of control, the failure to protect civil liberties, the failure to burn -- create jobs where they could be created life with fdr caused new deal program, the opportunity to have organized labor as part of the solution rather than polarizing its, this
8:17 am
administration needs to save itself from itself. not only in terms of policy but also in terms upper winning this november election. progressives will stay home if they do not feel bound to the administration. host: could he be challenged in a primary? guest: in terms of 2012? it is instructive to look at what happened in 1967 when the democrat in the white house turned a deaf ear to a base that was opposed to an escalating war. the polls tell us that about two-thirds of obama voters in 2008 are very much opposed to the war in the bandstand. does jobe the nomination of
8:18 am
elena kagan will go up -- host: the nomination of elena kagan will go up in two weeks. what is your reaction to her pick? guest: a painful irony that the stevens seek as filled by elena katelynn will move to the right. very few legal analysts will disagree with the clear analysis that see it -- stevens has been a stronger civil liberties of order than elena kagan. it is a sad day when a democrat in the white house makes a nomination to the supreme court to move an overly conservative, right-wing court further to the right. host: is the presiient of box
8:19 am
in? if you put someone in too far to the left, he could face a republican filibuster? guest of the president fox himself in. he needs to decide what is worth fighting for. he has been willing to fight for certain things and not for others. a few moments ago we heard about how the campaign to send more troops to afghanistan. he has broken a good campaign promises. i think that the president is in excess of apologist. he can fight on capitol hill. he could fight for a general libertarian to go the supreme court but instead he nominated someone who, best evidence, is not a strong backer of civil liberties. it is possible the face down the
8:20 am
senate. many presidents have done it. i am regretful that this president has chosen not to throw down the column -- throw down the gauntlet for civil liberties. host: our conversation this morning is with norman solomon. jim is joining us from tampa, florida. caller: wishing you both a good morning.3 while, i apologize if i ask something that was similar to someone else. host: the floor is yours. go ahead. caller: i am a republican. first of all, in may it american. i am intendinn to go -- i am a american. i am intending to go to a more moderate american view. i am interested on your view on the david stockman book,
8:21 am
"triumph and politics." he was the supply side economics guru. in the book i read that president reagan, i am not young but not old either, ronald reagan was my first election. -preading about history, i am learning that he quadrupled our deficit. he cut taxes and increase military spending and eventually but to of a lot -- quadrupled our budget deficct. bush jr. was handed a surplus and they have us in a rat hole. i am not saying that obama is doing everything right but i do know that the republican house, senate, and administration drove
8:22 am
the car into 1 d ass -- deep ass ditch. why are you railing against obama when we should be trying to come together? it feeds the republicans and it turns the democrats away. as a republican who is kind of seeing the light, i am trying to understand where you are coming from. guest: fair enough question. coming together is good. but not bind policies that are escalating a war in afghanistan, costing us a tremendous amount of national treasure in the lives of young people, including enormous suffering and making us less secure around the world. coming the other is not a great policy when it is a failure of basic regulatory function that leads to allowing have it's like bp to do more or less what they
8:23 am
want. coming the other is not good when we have a sky high unemployment rate. we have these nickel and dime approaches. how can we move this country forward in a way that sustains the quality of life and provides real security? looking at it in a narrow and partisan electorate lands, it is fairly clear that when the president of the united states bonds with wall street and franklin delano roosevelt did iwhen he denounced what was called the economic royalists, when our president could be leading with help from the grass roots or social progress of
8:24 am
change, when our president bonds with wall street rather than challenges it, that is a deficit for democrats going into the nov. midterms. we need progress of populism. if we do not engage the right- wing populism will take over and it will be worse for emocrats on the election day. host: better to take a twitter that allow republicans to talk for 10 minutes." begging the question, can you be a moderate republican? can you be a conservative democrat? guest: even the term moderate this sort of a media created label. host: but it does talk about you being pro-choice in a republican party porkpie fiscally conservative in a democratic --
8:25 am
republican party for this conservative in a democratic party. -- or fiscally conservative in the democratic party. guest: no matter how tolerance the mass is towards destructive pollution, as long as he or she is pro-choice they get called a moderate. we must ask ourselves what that the means. host: good morning, independent line. caller: good morning. why is everyone micromanaging the president? guest: it is called democracy. we are supposed to all participating in speak up. caller: i think he is doing a wonderful job and i love that he said that he is the president, not the messiah. the president cannot do everything but he is a good leader.
8:26 am
guest: the question is not his policy as an individual. he is in the ring and uplifting. the question is -- we have tremendous problems that continue in this country as they have been unfolding for a long time. for us to sit back and say that he is doing a decent job so we should quiet down, i think that that is a mistake closing of our real opportunity at the grassroots. in which we shape the future without simply turning in. in a way i would underscore what you said. it is up to us to change it to create a different political atmosphere, meaning we need to organize and make our voices heard. host: in "the washington post"
8:27 am
there are a wide variety of opinions. sarah palin's take, "the criteria for supporting reagan politicians is simple, can they live within their means and realize that there is a sacred trust in spending other people's money. did the incumbent himself or herself against state officials with a debt ridden strings attached package? guest: we have written a lot about the republicans the dug us into debt, but as with the case of the great depression it was deficit spending that began to focus us on job creation and lift this country out of this tremendous horror of mass
8:28 am
unemployment and poverty. some might argue we are still in a great recession now. my view on foreclosing government spending and becoming a deficit hawk is not only counterintuitive but againstt basic economics as paul krugman has pointed out repeatedly. we have got to spend to create jobs and the most efficient way to do that is not the tax rate -- tax breaks for businesses, it is job creation. host: where is home for you these days? guest: san francisco area. host: wellington, ky. caller: good morning. i would like ask this gentleman exactly what is a progressive
8:29 am
democrat. half it seems to be -- it seems to be as far left as you can get. why not leave the democratic party. uuion members are not that part of the left. it left me. guest: if you would like to see an expressive program of democratic -- progressive democrats, though the website for the progressive democrats of america organization. there is historical content. in the 1930's they struggled for the right to unionize, for unemployment insurance. in the 1960's they were for civil rights and women's equality as a trend that needed to be accelerated. they organized against the war in vietnam, of what martin luther king called the madness of militarism.
8:30 am
equal rights for gays, lesbians, african americans, and latinos. there is a long tradition of being a social democrat through social equity. finding alternatives to the kind oo purely suicidal policies that have often been pursued out of washington. host: joe says the republicans dug us into the debt, what has president obama done to get us out"? guest: official unemployment of nine with 7% nationwide, and he used that standard of that means that the entire new deal was a bad idea, which it was not. it helps to save this country in many respects. a narrow view in terms of talking about narrow policies,
8:31 am
we are in this place now where we have deficit hawks in the military talks. it is a terrible combination because more and more money is being squandered in afghanistan but we're being told that we have to reduce the deficit. it will comm out of your hide if you are watthing at home. maybe you want better green jobs or some sort of infrastructure. maybe what library is open and bridges that do not fall down. -- maybe you want libraries open and bridges that do not fall down. to simply look at the ledger sheet is a big mistake. host: the guest tomorrow will be the editor of "the guardian" in london. larry joins us from cameron, idaho. caller: i am enjoying this very
8:32 am
much, but i do think that this gentleman is very articulate and unfortunately is speaking somewhat over my head. i am not a very learned man. i served in vietnam and i tried to stay abreast of what is happening in this country. when i went to vietnam my attitude was my country, right, wrong, or indifferent. unfortunately that was a very stupid outlook. not seeing the overall picture of what was going on in washington with the economy and with spending, with the reasoos we have gone into vietnam in iraq, the reason we went into afghanistan, i do not see the big picture of what is going on behind the scenes and causing all of this. frankly, i do not really care.
8:33 am
i am just concerned about myself and my family. i am concerned about others in this country that are struggling trying to make it. i believe that it is because so many of the people are not considering the people like me who are not very learned. we are to can and others to represent us in a way that is beneficial to was into the rest of the world. host: thank you for phoning in so early on a sunday morning in idaho. guest: i do not think it is a question of being learned or not, it is a question of people using their values to determine where we are. the so-called best and brightest in harvard in yell came to washington in the johnson the aaministration.
8:34 am
much of the latest generation of the best and brightest is dragging us into the war in afghanistan. breaks my heart to see young people coming home from this war to suffer the consequences. as woody guthrie said, any fool can be complicated. it is not about being learned, it is about bbinging to the square of our debate and decision making as human beings. our values must be front and center in the debate. host: a robust debate on our twitter page, twitter.com/c- spanwj. kevin, of south carollna. good morning. caller: the democratic and progressive, are they not the same people that tricked everyone into accepting the
8:35 am
federal reserve in 1913 when everyone went home for christmas? the same federal reserve that has us in this almost a freshman? also, you were talking about jobs and respecting immigrants. have respect for u.s. citizens who are out of work. they do not respect us, waving flags from countries in the streets. unemployment could be solved quickly the same way that hoover and eisenhower solve it. guest: a big fork in the road around immigration is whether we are going to affirm the human rights of everyone and acknowledge that we are all immigrants with the exception of americans.
8:36 am
i will not swear like grandparents and ellis island always had their papprs by an order. the reality is that there is a strong temptation to scapegoat immigrants for what are structural problems in the economy. the problem is not unemployment along the rio grande, is along profiteering and of the lack of priorities in washington. ultimately it is a national+ debate and there has to be a way to not scapegoat the powerless and look at those that have tremendous wealth and power while there is less unemployment in our country. host: "the president through everything that he could at the growth curve, but it was called not good enough." guest: i am not happy with the composition of that mission.
8:37 am
again, the progressive economic populism that is very positive in terms of potential in this country to affirm the rights of everyone to a job, education, and housing, that will not come from the top down in terms of figuring out managing this economy. if we come from the bottom up -- not hold our breath. i think you will need to come from us. host: thank you for being with us on this sunday. guest: thank you. host: come back any time. an expert on iran will be joining us in a couple of minutes with reaction to the sanctions voted by the security council this past week as the president intends to put pressure on the iranian government becoming one year+ after the election of mahmoud3
8:38 am
next we would like to share with you and sides into the war room, the command center in the vienna. -- share with you insights into the war room, the command center in louisiana. >> we call this our situation status map. we have numerous layers of strategy and defense. the red line is where we have spotted oil. we have flights to go over and every day to figure out where the oil is. we want to get rid of as much as possible. at the source we have our most capable vessels.
8:39 am
we are now pulling down from the atlantic and pacific, reaching across the ocean to get there. these skimmers, we are bringing new things online every day. id is the most effective way to deal with the oil as it is fresh and able to e recovered. looking at what we would ultimately call response technology and controlled burning has been very successful for us. we also have room for aerial disbursement. when we have permission to use those we will use dispersants as well. >> "washington journal" continues. cuff host: we want to welcome back to c-span the carnegie
8:40 am
endowment for peace, this expert on iran. welcome to the program. brazil and turkey sided with the iranian government, what does it mean? guest: un sanctions, everyone knew that it would be a starting point and not a finishing line. it is difficult to pass sanctions at the u. n. this is not going to severely harm the iranian economy. but sanctions are busily a precursor to further unilateral measures. host: let me focus on some of the news of the day. one year after the questionable
8:41 am
re-election of the iranian president a big rally was called off yesterdaa with protesters freturning to the street. what is the sentiment in this country? guest: out of the streets but not out of mind. that force people into thend%- streets, i think the protesters recognize yesterday that they would be overwhelmed by government forces. moving forward this is one of the challenges of the green opposition movement, going above and beyond the strategy of street protests. when those are the only plays in your playbook, what percentage of your supporters are willing to go out and sacrificc their lives for your craws.
8:42 am
there are far fewer supporters willing to do that as opposed to government supporters, who have a monopoly of coercion. host: can the people of iran protests without fear of repercussion? guest: absolutely not. there is no right to free assembly in iran and as we saw last year from that incredibly hair wearing imagery, men, women, and children who go out to peacefully protest often face the risk of death. host: let me try to summarize what is in the resolution. nuclear materials are being shipped into ran. what is not in othe resolution is a comprehensiveearms embargo.
8:43 am
resolutions that allow iran to+ purchase weapons and conclude the purchase of service to air missiles from russia. there is no comprehensive ban on financial dealings from the revolutionary guard. guest: true, un sanctions were always going to be more political rather than economic consequence. it is difficult to get countries like russia and china who has strategic relationships with iran to sacrifice those interests with an issue that we feel less strongly about than the united states. moving forward you will see stronger measures coming out of the united states and the european union. the big question is if these measures will alter their nuclear calculations. we have three decadds of empirical evidence that sanctions have not really altered -- it is because this
8:44 am
regime has a long history of having shown itself willing to subject its population to economic hardship rather than compromise. host: president ahmadinejad referred to the resolution as nothing more than a used tissue. >> no amount of pressure and mischief will be able to break our determination to pursue and defend our legal and inalienable rights. host: officially joining iran in support is brazil and turkey. why? guest: somewhat unexpected in the sense that brazil and tuukey, eeks before this resolution was passed, made a
8:45 am
diplomatic gambit to tehran. they tried to resuscitate a deal that had been offered last october. i think that there was certainly some kind of disagreement or miscommunication between the united states, turkey, and brazil. personally i do not think of the united states bought the this? it would succeed. certainly the iranians would sign off on this deal. having to honor the efforts of its some leadership to make a good-faith gesture. host: this is a news analysis from "the new york times" this morning.
8:46 am
"why have the two countries been openly defying the united states by voting against new sanctions? for the united states it was a slap in the face from a close ally prompting some soul- searching about turkey. robert gates made a note that turkey was moving eastward, a shiff that he attributed to their turned down response to join. turkey the east-west bridge, siding with the east because it lost its path on becoming more like the west." is that fair? guest: most people in turkey rejected that conventional wisdom. whether or not it is true, it is safe to say that this particular turkish government, the
8:47 am
government of the akp, they certainly have a much more religious and islamic hue than previous governments. they certainly are more focused on building relationships and coaxing investment from the arab world. iran has invested tremendous amounts in trying to be the vanguard of the islamic world. they have supported organizations like hezbollah and hamas, but they have gotten two tangible benefits from that. there's not a lot of arab investment in iran. many of them are concerned about the nuclear ambitions. turkey has taken a much more sophisticated approach.
8:48 am
they had the support of government in the region and businesses in the arab world. host: our phone lines are open. even join the conversation on quitter as well, twitter.com/c- spanwj, or send us an e-mail at journal@c-span.org. caller: i am sort of an expert on this deal of money. your guess s talking, do he know why we went to iraq? or why we are in afghanistan? it has nothing to do with weapons or what ever. it has to do with money and who controls it. who do you think controls the united states?
8:49 am
host: how would you answer that question, john? caller: the united states, the people do not own anything anymore. corporations, aig, all of it. who owns it? guest: an interesting question. certainly in the 1970's in iran this was the overwhelming popular narrative. the united states was an the backs of the third world. why the iranian revolution went in the direction that it did, there was an overwhelming torrent of anti-imperialism. three decades later after being poverned by a government that shares your opinion, the younger generation of iranians have recognized that today's world is
8:50 am
not the world anti-imperialism -pwith a simple policy that opposes the united states. it does not create jobs or economic dignity. i think the overwhelming undercurrent today is one of globalization and partnership. not only with the united states, but also with the arab world and having a foreign policy that is not a zero sum game. it tries to have positive relations and improve the state of the economy. host: turkey is in the neighborhood of iran and supplies them with about one- fifth of their natural gas. is that a big political factor behind ttrkey and brazil joining in? guest: i think it is certainly a factor. in turkey the price of gasoline
8:51 am
is very expensive. several years back oil prices reached $140 per barrel, p the throughout the world was the second most expensive in the world. $74 per barrel at that time. iran was the cheapest place in the world. turkey has certainly seen about one-quarter of it coming from iran, a factor and not the only factor. host: band, republican line. caller: thank you for having me on. your question on what is good for iran, what is next is that israel will attack it and take3 iran is also chomping at the bit to blow up israel.
8:52 am
guest: however would respond to that is thattthe iranian government is not suicidal. it is paramount to stay in power. they recognize that if they made an aggressive mmlitary move for israel it would be the end of the islamic republic. moving forward in the terms that i have, israeli officials, the underlying problem that we have as much more to do with the character of the regime than the nuclear program. if you attack iran to delay its nuclear ambitions, you are going to prolong the regime indefinitely. perhaps another decade or generation. the problem of the character of the regime is that bombing iran
8:53 am
is not going to solve the problem, it will exacerbate it. host: "if they achieve an atomic weapon, will they really give it to a terrorist to use on the u.s. and israel and ensure their own demise"? guest: i did partially answer it. they recognize that to do that it would be the end of the is locked republic itself. but if you were an israeli and you had a government where the president denies the holocaust, it would be a concern. if you are a mother of two new not parse the statements of ahmadinejad. you take it seriously. israeli officials have the right to take this rhetoric. but bombing iran will only intrench the worst of the
8:54 am
reggme. host: travis, boston, good morning. caller: gentlemen, thank you for accepting my call. the indicators that he stayed -- stated in istanbul last week, apparently he stayed in hotels and incurred expenses. where does this money come from? who is running his efforts? i am a historian and have tracked the occupation in iraq. the cheerleaders for the regime change in 1992 were dual citizens. looking at iian, it is always iranians. issthere some sort of a marriage between iranian interests for
8:55 am
regime change and israel? one that moved to israel if you love a that montana guest: i did not understand the question about moving to israel. -- that much? guest: i did not understand the question about moving to israel. of course, change has to come indigenously from the people themselves. should it be a priority for the u.s. government to support democracc in iran? the united states has to be on the right side of this. 3 million people rising up against authoritarian regimes without any looting, that is to be supported whether we are talking about iran, egypt, or
8:56 am
elsewhere. the challenges the the obama administration faces is hhw do you support democracy in iran without changing its independence? you are misinterpreting things if you are comparing iran to iraq. i do not know that anyone is calling for a military led regime change. as i said, they are opposed to the idea of even service strikes. host: talking about a run on a number of different stripes. -- a number of different fronts. about one year since the re- election of mahmoud ahmadinejad. new sanctions have been confirmed. david is join yes from south carolina. good morning. are you with us? we will try it one more time. ahead, please. david? caller: good morning. what is next for iran does they
8:57 am
are on the verge of being a superpower -- is that they are on the verge of being a superpower and taking over corporate america at this time. americans can talk about sanctions all of that one. host: would you call it run a superpower? guest: i certainly -- would you call it ran a superpower? guest: i certainly would not -- wwuld you call iran a superpower? guest: i certainly would not. most of its citizens live below the poverty line. unemployment hovers around 40%. i think the caller were to set foot in a run he would be immediately disabused of his assessment as iran being a superpower. host: london, england, go ahead.
8:58 am
we're glad that you. good afternoon. obviously there has been a lot of cautionary questioning when i really do think that turkey in the next four years, they have a strong possibility of becoming a european bloc member. what i would like to ask is do you not think it might be time for the united states to actually start working to try to help the people of iran peacefully? to force a regime change their? outside spending two weeks there
8:59 am
on a package holiday, should the u.s. not be more positive in educating its people towards iran and the graham -- and the greater released as a whole rather than the anti-turkish rhetoric that seems to be coming out? something in a country that supports america throughout the cold war? host: hazmat you was asking his question, we got this letter, "obama should do what? start another unfunded war with iran"? guest: there is an interesting draft from 1978 where you compare the turkish economy to the iranian academy -- the economy, the turkish economy has taken off and the iranian economy has remained stagnant.
9:00 am
certainly they have not exploited their resources as much, but i am less optimistic than the caller that they will achieve membership in the next few years within the united nations. the united states has certainly supported the entry, but it looks much less likely now than it was a few years ago. what was the second question? host: basically it is what shoull president obama do, start another unfunded war with iran? guest: of course not. i do not know of anyone, certainly, who is trying to advocate the cause of democracy in iran who supports military action in ran. . .
9:01 am
caller: i wanted to get the gentleman's view on that. d.c. a full wrote rick in -- a full war between saudi arabia -pand iran? guest: you look at some of the hotspots. lebanon, syria, israel, palestine.
9:02 am
if you want to include afghanistan as part of the middle east. it looks to be like a proxy war between iran and saudi arabia. iran is a predominantly shiite country. this has also been the case in the non -- in lebanon. i thought that was a very perceptive question by the collar. this is something of great concern about growing religious tension. one could argue that the religious tension has been somewhat curtailed in the age of obama, maybe it had reached its peak during the iraq war of 2006. now things arm somewhat
9:03 am
stabilized -- now things are somewhat stabilized. host: joining us from shobi town, michigan. caller: i have called in saying thhs before. saudi arabia contributes more to terrorism. our troops are being killed in afghanistan because of saudi arabian money. 15 of 19 hijackers were from saudi arabia. bin laden came from saudi arabia. you have the circle of death. was george bush going to group -- going to do a meet and greet with the monarchies from saudi arabia and give them a big wet kiss? i cannot understand why ww are going after i ran when all of this is from saudi arabia -- i cannot understand why we're
9:04 am
going after miron. guest: if you talk to terrorism experts and are in agreement with them that the main threat in terms of terror is not state terror from countries like iran that non-state terror from militant organizations like al qaeda and others. in this predominantly funded by saudi arabia. so many organizations are not funded by saudi policy but coming from citizens. several of the hijackers were predominantly at the saudi citizens. host: we're talking about the situation is going in iran. the president traveled to the diplomatic room in the white
9:05 am
house and had this to say. >> these are the most comprehensive sanctions they have faced. they will impose restrictions on their nuclear activities, ballistics program, and its conventional military. they will put a new free market in place to stop iranian smuggling and crack down on iranian banks and financial transactions. they target individuals, entities, and institutions including those associated with the revolutionary guard that have supported their nuclear program and prosper from illicit activities at the expense of the iranian people. we will insure that these sancttons are vigorously enforced just as we continue to refine and enforce our own sanctions on iran alongside our friends and allies. -phost: are these resolutions comprehensive?
9:06 am
guest: they're not that comprehensive. they recognize that u.n. sanctions are the lowest common dennminator sanctions. take back a step to the obama administration and their policy. when he came into office january 2009, one priority was to engage the world and a run to change the adversarial tension, the town and context of the u.s.- iran relationship. he has made more of an effort to reach up to run zero -- to reach out to iran than any other president in theelast three decades. they believe that enmity towards the united states was an important pillar of the revolution. in the aftermath of the election, there was so much
9:07 am
internal dissent in i ran they could not come to a decision. for whatever reason, it has not that relationship. one year and a half later, the president has no other choice than to move forward with sanctions. from a vantage point, congress has been agitating for the sanctions for over a year now. when president obama talks about sanctions with miron, this is not his foreign policy vision when he was coming into office -- when president obama talks about sanctions with tirana -- iran. these are not the tried and failed policies of the past. the need to go with the least bad options. host: good morning to you, san francisco. caller: i have a question about the fact that we trust the
9:08 am
united nations after when they did with iraq. with the theme money for the children. many of these representatives in the united states took money instead of giving the oil to the money for children in iraq. it is very difficult for me to trust the fact that they keep saying they are right to put in sanctions. we have two communist nations, russia and china, say in know. i have two questions. what is the safety of the people in iran when they hear the speeches saying that many countries throughout the world quietly and privately believe and agree with him telling him to keep on trying to get his nuclear weapons? what do the people think when they hear him say he wants to bring in the imams literally?
9:09 am
>guest: ok'd inamed data -- he has been in office and has little credibility with the iranian people. when he makes these grand u.s. claims, he once said that the u.n. that there was a halo appearing around his head and the audience did not blink for an entire hour. people take what he says with a chunk of salt. with regards to the united nations, one distinction which people are trying to make this time the sanctions on iran against the ones that were placed on saddam hussein and iraq were blanket sanctions
9:10 am
which really hurting the iraqi people. there was the oil and food scandal within the united nations. sanctions against tehran, they are trying to make that has targeted as possible. the want to target the leadership instead of the people. it is very difficult to carry out. that is the goal. that was a lesson learned from the failed iraq sanctions host: we are joined from redmond, ore.. caller: think you for taking my call. i was wondering if the gentleman could please address iran's hard tower in regards to brazil, turkey, bahrain, yemen, sunoco se --n senegal, and i could go
9:11 am
on. they have an incredible uranium supply being placed on rivers that ave ports to go to the atlantic. i would also be interested in having him go in a little more detail between the relationship of a russia and china in regards to miron. -- in regards to iran. by the green party and has been so ignored by this administration because that is why we're going to get change. host: can you define mean between soft and hard hours? caller: we use soft ppwer in order not to have to use are hard power.
9:12 am
they use soft power in tandem with heart host: power. thaak you for the call -- in tandem with hard power. guest: they use soft and hard in tandem. hezbollah has won popular support with its hard exploits in south lebanon and its social services, its soft power. this has been an approach of a run threat the region. -- this has been an approach of the iran throughout the region. he has far more supporters, i would argue, in a lot of places like lebanon and places in the
9:13 am
arab and moslem world that deal disgruntled by the u.s. and israeli olicies. a long as the sense of alienation exists in the arab and moslem m --uslim world, it will exist. the sparks a lot of antipathies towards israel. iran's anti-world view will resonate. the relationship between iran, russia, and china. the relationships with china is a straightforward commercial relationship in the sense that china needs tremendous amounts of energy. as much as the united states tries to sanction a run, i
9:14 am
think the relationship between china and iran will remain. russia, in the past, as you did their relations in the context of u.s.-russia relations. it has been a thorn in the side that russia has been able to exploit. since the arrival of the obama administration and the improvement in russian-u.s. relations, moscow has veered closer to washington than pteron. -- washington than tehran. host: mike can middle eastern nations find common ground to help solve some of the defers conflict and issues? guest: that is a sentiment i share. to address the call's email, when i look at the younger generation in the middle east
9:15 am
there is a much more powerful trend of globalization then i think of their parents' generation had. the dominant trend was anti imperialism. the internet of the facebook, the internet, and satellite television, people want to be connected with one another. they do not want to continue the fighting of the previous generation. host: our focus is iran. you can log on at c arnegieendowment.com. caller: whose payroll are you on? to support your efforts?
9:16 am
are you being paid by israel and other war mongering countries who are trying to ratchet up a war so that my president will then have to attack iran? i want to know why i continue to bring up the act that your president has denied the holocaust. that is merely just his opinion that it did not happen here. by 8 being a human being, he is entitled to his opinion. please, do not cut me off. i would like to know you feel as though your country should always remain in a subservient position, that iran should not be able to have a nuclear weapon. personally, i think all nations should have on.+ that way no one will be pushing another nation around because all nations have the same thing and are able to protect
9:17 am
themselves. maybe then we will learn to come to the table and talk instead of thinking because you have a bigger gun and more bonds than you can force someone into a subservient position to go along with your ideology. host: reports on the table. guest: we are a nonprofit organization that does not get any money from fooeign agencies or governments. if you have been listening, i am unequivocally opposed to any kind of military action against tehran. -- against ran. the second question about denying the hooocaust, from your vantage point that he is entitled to his opinion. from my point in washington, he is entitled to his opinion. if you are an israeli citizen
9:18 am
and have ancestors who died in the holocaust and you have a president denying the holocaust and is flirting with nuclear weapons capabilities, i think it is not simply an intellectual exercise which you can easily dismissed. my only point was if i were an israeli or a leader, that would be something i would take seriously. the third point about do i want to run to be subservient -- iran to be subservient. they are subservient because of their floundering economy. it is not a modern country. it is a country with enormous natural resources, but of of all that has enormous he missed -- human resources that are not be exploited. there is an enormous potential
9:19 am
of its people. sitting in philadelphia it is easy to cheer them on from afar. when you go there and see the tremendous heartbreak, the tremendous unfulfilled potential of three generations. when you see a beautiful young woman who was simply walking along the street protesting shot in the heart at point-blank, that is something fundamentally on just about that, to "president obama iranians having lived under a government which has made its opposition to the united states and israel has put the economic dittany -- he economic dignity as a tertiary concern. they are tired of that world view. it derecognize it has not borne fruit. host: our next caller's from the
9:20 am
independent line. caller: the last caller hit this on the head. the problem in the area is not iran. it's israel. do not cut me off, c-span. every time someone says something negative about israel, this country has a big- time problem with that. israel has been the problem in that region every since day one. we hear these people always talking about taxing this and that. that is where all of our tax dollars are going, to help israel. host: how would you resolve what has been a longstanding situation in the middle east pating back to world war ii?
9:21 am
caller: [inaudible] host: how do you respond? caller: search? -- sir? host: how the use of the situation in the middle east. caller: aa long as israelis are on occupied pplestinian lands, do not get me wrong, i voted for president obama. i campaigned for him. this is in israel. my president should not [inaudible] host: yourself and is breaking up of. with both sides, the have called
9:22 am
for a two state solution, both countries living side by side. is that feasible? guest: increasingly, as time passes and the demographics of the region change, i think it is increasingly looking more and mooe feasible because the palestinians are starting to outnumber the israelis. i went to be clear that i have tremendous sympathy for the plight of the palestinians. you can be ambidextrous and support justice for the palestinians and also just as for iranians. one thing that people oftentimes misunderstand is they lump all the coontries in the middle east into one. they think arabs are iranians and people making up in pteron -- tehran and think if only the palestinians were able to achieve justice today.
9:23 am
why would iranians one more for the palestinians than they want for themselves? certainly they want justice for the palestinians, but they also want to see democracy and self- determination for themselves, as well. this applies to countries throughout the region, iranians, egyptians, etc. on your -- host: on the republican line. caller: itunes in a little bit late. i requently watch the program on saturday and sunday's. a question for your guest is that it seems to me that in 2003, whenever iraq was liberated by the united states, i was very optimistic that democracy would of taken off immediately, there would have been a rush to freedom with the
9:24 am
same kind of the divisions of power with a checks and balance that we have in our country. i am curious, in your opinion, why it did not happen that way. does this mean it cannot happen? host: it said they expected what happened back in 2003, 2004. do you want to respond? guest: great question. when you compare them to a lot of countries in the region, including iraq, you have the islamic revolution in 1979. the had experienced rule for several decades. major additional glasses, including clerics, they realized it was a dirty game.
9:25 am
when you mix religion and politics together, you change the name of religion. in the arab world, they have not had the same experience with religious government whether it is iraq, egypt, or elsewhere. i think this is something that is going to have to run its course. a lot of these parties as we are seeing in turkey, as they evolve towards a more democratic system, i think we will see the increasing influence of islamist parties. host: our guest testified before the senate foreign relations committee. he is a lecturer at a numbee of leading universities including princeton, stanford, and harvard. he graduated from the university of michigan and johns hopkins.
9:26 am
a quick question from a viewer wondering if most of the people in iran is under the age of 25. guest: two-thirds are under the age of 32. on the 70% of the population was born after the 1979 revolution. we have no remembrance for enmity towards the shah government. there is no loyalty to a theocracy that has not been able to deliver to them the economic dignity and social and political freedoms. host: miles from georgia. go ahead. caller: the only way iran can keep itself from being invaded is to get the ball. they will get invaded just like iraq.
9:27 am
american soldiers will never leave iraq. if they do not want that to happen to them, they will get the bomb. they will get blackwater coming in killing people at will. iran should get the bomb. guest: it is a fair point that is widelyyshared by many including many of the iranian leadership as they look back to 2003. one lesson they grew was that a country like north korea is immune to a u.s. invasion because they have a nuclear weapon and the country like iraq was not immune. there are several ways of looking at this. by continuing to pursue this path of nuclear weapons capabilities, they are inviting more pressure on them. it is the chicken and the egg.
9:28 am
as the pressure on iran because of nuclear ambitions or because the powers want to keep iran down? i think that the concern, which many people now have, is one lesson that thee may drop. it is the lesson of pakistan. that as a country which after in achieve a nuclear weapon, tested a nuclear weapon, after one week of outrage the world was so concerned that they engaged pakistan. they got a lot of incentive after they achieved and across the the nuclear threshold. there is this double standard that when you actually have a nuclear weapon, you are part of
9:29 am
the club, and you are given incentive, they would rather achieve that. host: let me ask you to take the longer term view on the government. will he be term limited? guest: assuming he lasts the be 2013, he would then have told step down. there is increasing intrigue about someone who has become so enamored with power that they will try to find a way to keep him in power. after putin came down, he has became a prime minister of sorts, who is arguably
9:30 am
controlling president medvedev. host: with the iranian people support that? guest: certainly not. they have an enormous opposition to him. i do not think it is something that is terribly likely, but i think they are thinking about it. host: as always we appreciate do you have a pension? how is it doing? what happens if you work for state or local government and they could not the fault? what is the equity in those of funds? we will be addressing that in a few minutes as "washington journal"continues. we will be back in a moment.
9:31 am
>> the confirmation hearing is coming for lena kagan in this month. c-span takes you inside the supreme court to see the public places and rarely seen spaces. hear from the justices as they provide insight on the building and its history. supreme court, to america's highest court, today at 6:30 p.m. eastern on c-span. >> the democrats had run the congress for 40 years.
9:32 am
there was a certain level of corruption that had taken hold. we are rallying against that. it is so ironic that years later i would be a face of a similar type of corruption to a different group f people. >> director alex gibney talks about his new documentary, should the federalght on c-span- communications commission regulates the internet? two years with caffeine -- cathy sloan and walter mccormick. that will be on c-span [applause] host: we want to focus on pensions. we are joined by the former executive director of the pension benefit guarantee organization.
9:33 am
let me more broadly ask you about how many people in this country currently receive pensions and what impact the economy is having on state and local budgets in cut -- in pain for government pensions?+ guest: 20% of the private sector purges. in a traditional defined payment plans. many of them have been frozen and are no longer accruing benefits. in public sector, it is much greater.. we have closer to 90% penetration which has caused a lot of heartburn, a lot of pressure, on state and local governments. we see this in california, illinois, new jersey, and other states and localities. host: that we sell -- let me separate private and public. what are the chances you'll get a pension if you stay with the cut -- still with the company for 25 or 30 yyars? guest: less than half of the
9:34 am
fortunate hundred companies offer a traditional defined benefit plan. about 300 of the forttne 500 do. new workers do not have access to traditional defined benefits plan. the question is to whether or not if you do have access whether it be around another 25 years or not is uncertain. we are taking over responsibility for 4000 corporate pension plans were the have defaulted onntheir obligations. host: the president is asking for $50 billion in stimulus money to help governments offset their own budget deficits. omb used in part to create work force. one of the reasons why governments and municipalities are struggling is because they have to pay a high percentage in pensions. guest: the statistics are staggering in some communities.
9:35 am
the percent of the budget that goes to satisfy pension obligations, in los angeles county is 20% of the budget. host: that is money off the top before being spent on anything else. the trade-off is continuing to pay the pension benefits. the people are owed that money. state constitutions require those accounts be honored. you see pressures on the other side. school budgets, teachers laid off, libraries and parks closing. something has to give host:. what is the pension benefit guaranty corp. do? guest: these plans are back stopped by thepbgc up to certain limits. there have been some calls to extend our research coverage to the public sector.
9:36 am
that has not gotten traction host: we will take your phone calls in just a few minutes. listed on your screen. we also have a line for independence. you can send us an e-mail or join us on twitter @cspanwj. as you look at the stock market, the last two years have been a wild ride. up 284 points monday, down 350 points earlier in the month. what does that do for pensions? guest: it has significantly adversely affected pension plans in the public and private sectors just as they affect -p401k's. we do not learn from the lessons of history. we went through this earlier this decade. private-sector pension plans to about a $500 billion hit from a
9:37 am
surplus to a significant deficit over about a 2.5 here. in 2000 -- is significant deficit over a 2.5 year period. it came up to buy them in detail again in this most recent market downturn where you have the same magnitude of funding but in a much shorter period of time. host: this is from "the new york times." gov. patterson and the legislative leaders have agreed to that the state and municipalities to borrow $6 billion to make required annual payments to the new york state pension fund. under the plan, and what you to respond to this, stadium and his policies would borrow the money to reduce their contributions for the next three years in exchange for higher payments over the following decade. basically they are passing this on to another governor, mayor,
9:38 am
local leader. guest: in both the public and the private sector, unfortunately the preferred policy solution for dealing with these deficits have been to pick the can down the road. but the obligations on future sets of tax payers,3 -- premium payers. host: you manage about 40 million americans through the agency. guest: am a little more than 40 million americans are covered by the insurance program. we are now diiectly responsible for the pensions of about 1.3 million people. caller: good morning. i agreed that they use the money without discretion. they borrowed money for the pensions to balance the budget.
9:39 am
every governor after that never paid the money back.. now we are in a big hole. christie wants to put this on the back of the taxpayers. host: thank you. guest: there are no easy answers or silver bullets. we have these losses. they have to be filled. the question is how they are filled. is it from taxpayers, many of, who do not have access to defined benefit plans and are not the ones benefiting from these promises? they may be the ones were called upon to make good on these promises. is it the beneficiaries who thought they had a deal that may have to have a cutback in their promises because they can no longer be afforded? is it the state and local governments, the companies, that employee these individuals that the not put in enough money along the way?
9:40 am
unfortunately, there is no money tree or a silver bullet. someone will have to pay. the question is, ultimately, too? host: our guest is the former executive director of the pension benefit guaranty corp. barbara joins us from california. good morning. you are on the air. go ahead. caller: you are actually getting into the area that i was going to speak to. when i was in graduate school in horrible problem. no one was funding the pension funds across the country. there were a few states doing that for their employees. we investigated it. we saw that the legislature's were typically, as mr. bell said, kicking this down the road. this has been going on for a long time. having been in policy in washington and doing some work
9:41 am
for a ccngressman, in the field of education, i just suggest we start watching our legislatures3 attention, but it is our legislatures that are really -- and they are really messing up the work. host: thank you. guest: she is absolutely right. one understands the tendency to kick the can down the road. the problem is, and this is true of households, individuals, as well as the government's, no one wants to pay the true cost. i will put aside enough today for the promises of tomorrow. that is behavior that obviously has to change a. it is difficult to change that behavior in the current economic environment because that means a
9:42 am
saving more and consuming less right now. given the fragile state of the economy, that could curtail economic growth over the in tehran. -- over the interim. host: market joins us from boston with bradley belt. caller: good morning. i have a difficult time understanding the logic of why we are supporting the public unions, the police, the fire, the teachers, all of these pensions whhch are really generous compared to the private sector which receives none of this. the city of boston, we just gave pay raises to the fire department, part of a which was 3.2 5 cents just to agree to arrive on the jobs over.
9:43 am
-- to arrive on the job sober. these cops get pensions paid on the this. it seems like we are backwards. we are supporting a structure of corruption. why can they not just be like us in the private sector? why do they get a better deal? host: you work in the private sector? caller: yes. i have a 401k. switch them to the same syssem as the private sector. why did they get a better deal? we are taxpayers supporting it is ridiculous. host: here is a comment along his point. the stockton city fire, police department, government salary packages can be in excess of how is it possible to sustain the legacy costs'? guest: the issues both raised by
9:44 am
mark and the sweet, they are not sustainable. they have not set aside enoogh resources in the past to make good on that side of obligation. one thing we need to clarify is thattthere is no federal backstop and of the public sector pension plans, those sponsored by state governments and communities. there are no federal rules. those are governed, again, by state and local government rules. we just need to make sure we understand that the federal regulatory scheme governs private sector plans and not the public. that is ultimately an issue between the legislature hours in -pthe state and local government and the taxpayers in their jurisdictions. host: is not it time to increase
9:45 am
the retirement age for state employees? good morning with bradley belt. caller: i am a federal employee who is currently eligible to retire. host: how long have you worked? caller: 32 years with the usda. i think it is that the rest of the -- the rest of america cannot have such a planned host:. what is your plan? how oll are you? caller: i am 56. host: are you still working or are getting ready to retire? caller: with my wife being laid off, i am not ready to retire. i will get 64% of my current salarr. host: what is that? caller: about $91,000. host: ida's wanted to get those
9:46 am
numbers on the table. -- i just wanted to get those numbers on the table. caller: it is insolvent but there are some issues with its ability to keep going. i was wondering if there was a system to make sure that the corporations that are being guaranteed are paying inappropriate amounted to the be guaranteed? it is almost like the fdic because of the number of banks because i do think have been collecting enough for watching the parameters of how these companies are finding themselves in order to keep from having these guarantee corporations giving our tax dollars to the private sector. the last caller was concerned about that. i am concerned, as a taxpayer, that these corporations that are not being fiscally responsible will rely on the guarantee corporations. host: first, -- guest: first, congratulations. it sounds like you are set with
9:47 am
your income security in retirement. good for you. with respect to the issues you raised about the pbgc, part of the problem with the guaranty corp. is that it is almost designed to operate in a chronic deficit. it only takes over pension plans that are underfunded. the premiums that the agency collects from the company's -- companies are like the fdic. it is insufficient to cover the deficits. the bush should ministration and congress back in 2006 -- the bush administration and congress passed a bill intended to improve the status of pension plans. they wanted to make sure they got to fully funded status over seven years so if there were distresses with the corporate parent that there were negative
9:48 am
implicationn on pensions or burdens on taxpayers. the problem is we have the more recent economic doonturn in the markets. they have deteriorated substantially. companies have come back to congress and said they cannot this environment. otherwise we will have to close plants, cut jobs, etc. please allow was some more latitude to not make those more stringen obligations.3 down the road. the economy turns around and trust us to make good. host: we have an e-mail rom san diego. our e-mail is journal@cspan.org. "the entire narrative of how this happened it is a cautionary tale of nearly epic proportions."
9:49 am
guest: it really is. another way to look at this is if you go to an insurance company and get an annuity, it is essentially the same thing that the pension is promising, a fixed income stream down the road. the way we regulate insurance companies is you have to have more assets in the trust than of there are liabilities and promises at any point in time. there needs to be a capital surplus. there are severe penalties if the insurance companies takes on new risks with regards to the investment of his assets. not that pertain to pension plans whether in the private or public sector. we allow the annuity provider to operate in what would be an insurance context insolvent status. host: there are more union members in the public sector versus the private sector and thus more pensions. guest: there is a higher level
9:50 am
of penetration of pension plans in the public sector. it is closer to 90% in he public works 4 spender -- public workforce. they no longer have quite the penetration. if you add the public sector in, a little bit over 10% union. that is an issue with respect to teachers, police, and fire in the public sector. it is less of an issue on the private sector. host: he is the former director of the pension benefit guaranty corp. joining us from fort myers, florida. good morning. caller: i am 100% disabled veteran and i have a very small pension. if they ake that away from us, what will happen to this country? we will not put up with that.
9:51 am
my generation is a generation that made this country free. not korea, vietnam, not afghanistan. we made this country free. people like bill gates and others have made this money in this country. they said everything over to china. these are the kind of people that we should try to get together and make them do something for this country. i am at a point where if they ever take attention away from me, i have no alternative. i think you for listening to me. i am very disgusted with the way that things are. i did not vote for obama. i think the people should back him so he can try to get this country straightened out. he is not the one who put us
9:52 am
into the war. it was george bush that put us afghanistan. now he gets the blame. host: thhnk you. guest: the good thing is that his pension promises is an obligation of the federal government. the united states treasury and all taxpayers collectively, and no one has suggested that pensions be taken away from military personnel. my father is a military veteran as well. he gets a pension from the federal government. no one suggests there is a risk to this pension promises. the good news is americans are living longer. host: because we are living longer, we are draining the system. guest: that is correct. you can take that to the absurd extreme. it is a good news, bad news scenario. someone rushes in to say they found a cure for cancer. wonderful.
9:53 am
that also means that the life spans are going to go up fairly significantly and that will have a negative economic impact on anyone making profits to pay benefits for someone's lifetime. whether it is in social security, we modestly extended the normal retirement age for social security being phased in. host: but only by a couple of years. guest: it will now be 67. when i was executive director, back in the mid-1990s's, we had a bipartisan commission with a unanimous set of recommendations. one recommendation must to further extend the normal retirement age. there was a crr against that particularly by the aarp. the one caveat to that is that
9:54 am
not everyone can work longer. you and i are in the service business. it is easier for us to work longer. someone in manual labor job, they might not have it so easy. we need to take into consideration those kinds of issues, disability rules that may have to be revised. there's no question that we should not be subbidizing people to take retirement at early ages when they are fully capable of working longer. this is more true in european countries where you work for 20 or 30 years and you expect to collect pension benefits for 40 or 50 years. that does not work economically. host: or you work for the governments and are able to double that. -- double dip. you have created an overcapacity on our twitter page.
9:55 am
we will continue the conversation. our web address at twitter is @cspanwj. we go to seattle, washington. good morning. caller: think you for your program. i enjoyed it very much. i have a couple of issues. first of all, i am a goveenment retiree from the department of defense, 33 years. i worked in nuclear submarines. it used to be that we worked at 20% below benchmark wages and in return for that we got a good retirement system, health benefits, and we had good vacation times. since the 1960's, that has gradually gone up until the federal government employees receive benchmark wages across the board.
9:56 am
that has increased the pension liabilities for the government considerably. you notice over a period of time that the government has recognized this as well. when the outfalls of this has been the privatization of the federal aviation administration and gone to contract in. they can do the job cheaper than paying federal employees. the government has gradually raised the wages of federal employees to levels that cannot be supported in the retirement system. host: thank you, seattle, washingttn. guest: he makes a very good point. the traditional view was that if you worked in the public sector, you gave up some way to benefits in exchange for better deferred benefits and greater job sscurity. some of the more recent data i
9:57 am
have seen makes his point pretty compelling. there are a lot oo job categories where the public sector salaries are higher than private sector salaries. it is not an issue across the board, but we need to be cognizant of this. if you work for a regulatory agency, you actually do not for dissipate in a defined plan anymore. you are more in a 401k type of system. many companies in the private sector have gone that direction. some state and local government3 which begins to control the costs from the standpoint of the sponsor whether it is the federal government, private company, or state or local government. that shifts the risks to the individuals. as we have seen given this most
9:58 am
recent market experience, they're not the ones best positioned to manage those risks. the traditional 401k system as we know it today, steve, sub- optimal. what really need is to come up with new, innovative structures that will combine the best elements of both defined benefit plans and define conjuration. that is where we need to go. we need to fight the entrenched interests to maintain the status quo because that is what they benefit from. host: he says hey, remember the riots in greece? they were government pensioners. guest: i do not believe we will get to a point like that in the united states. you can certainly see in ceetain communities where you are either facing an increasingly significant taxes at the state level or property taxes at the local level or if there is not a
9:59 am
significant tax increase and there is schools closing, teachers laid off, parks closing. something has to give. the question is how does that manifest itself? we do nottknow, but some level of protest which we have seen already a little bit in some communities. see a greece-like situation.eve- host: john joins us from california.+ he is the last caller caller:. hi. how are you. i am a vietnam veteran. i can no longer walk. i am on a pension from the va. i get less than $1,000 per month. month.

83 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on